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Purification and functional assessment of smooth muscle cells derived from mouse embryonic stem cells

Author(s): Xiao-Xiang Tian | Jian Kang | Cheng-Hui Yan | Kai Xu | Jie Tao | Gui-Tang Yang | Ya-Ling Han

Journal: Journal of Geriatric Cardiology
ISSN 1671-5411

Volume: 10;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 272;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Smooth muscle cell | Embryonic stem cell | Differentiation | SM22α | Phenotype

Objective To obtain a pure population of smooth muscle cells (SMC) derived from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC) and further assess their functions. Methods A vector, expressing both puromycin resistance gene (puror) and enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) gene driven by smooth muscle 22α (SM22α) promoter, named pSM22α-puror-IRES2-EGFP was constructed and used to transfect ESC. Transgenic ESC (Tg-ESC) clones were selected by G418 and identified by PCR amplification of puror gene. The characteristics of Tg-ESC were detected by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining, SSEA-1 immunofluorescence and teratoma formation test in vivo. After induction of SMC differentiation by all-trans retinoic acid, differentiated Tg-ESC were treated with 10 μg/mL puromycin for three days to obtain purified SMC (P-SMC). Percentage of EGFP+ cells in P-SMC was assessed by flow cytometer. Expressions of smooth muscle specific markers were detected by immunostaining and Western blotting. Proliferation, migration and contractility of P-SMC were analyzed by growth curve, trans-well migration assay, and carbachol treatment, respectively. Finally, both P-SMC and unpurified SMC (unP-SMC) were injected into syngeneic mouse to see teratoma development. Results Tg-ESC clone was successfully established and confirmed by PCR detection of puror gene in its genomic DNA. The Tg-ESC was positive for ALP staining, SSEA-1 staining and formed teratoma containing tissues derived from three germ layers. After retinoic acid induction, large amount of EGFP positive cells outgrew from differentiated Tg-ESC. Three days of puromycin treatment produced a population of P-SMC with an EGFP+ percentage as high as 98.2% in contrast to 29.47% of unP-SMC. Compared with primary mouse vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), P-SMC displayed positive, but lowered expression of SMC-specific markers including SM α-actin and myosin heavy chain (SM-MHC) detected either, by immunostaining, or immunoblotting, accelerated proliferation, improved migration (99.33 +/- 2.04 vs. 44.00 +/- 2.08 migrated cells/field, P < 0.05), and decreased contractility in response to carbachol (7.75 +/- 1.19 % vs. 16.50 +/- 3.76 % in cell area reduction, P < 0.05). In vivo injection of unP-SMC developed apparent teratoma while P-SMC did not. Conclusions We obtained a pure population of ESC derived SMC with less mature (differentiated) phenotypes, which will be of great use in research of vascular diseases and in bio-engineered vascular grafts for regenerative medicine.
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